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Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015 12:12 am

Festive in a flash

Shake up your holiday decorating routine with these six easy do-it-yourself ideas


Decorating for the holidays is meant to help usher in the excitement and joy of the coming season. After years of the same routine, however, it can feel like you’re just going through the motions – put up the tree, string the lights, hang the stockings – over and over again.

This year, commit to shaking things up!

 “Unlike the commitment you make to more permanent interior design, the holidays allow you to try on a ‘look’ just for the fun of it,” says interior designer David Stark, of David Stark Design and Production in Brooklyn, New York. “Your design does not need to last for years and years, and your décor can be silly or seriously elegant, but at worst, it’s a six-week commitment which alleviates a lot of design pressure. It’s a great time to experiment and, most of all, have fun.”
Make traditional holiday décor fresh and new with these six creative and simple do-it-yourself decorating ideas:

1. Simply merry centerpieces
Create a cheerful centerpiece for your holiday table by simply filling a bowl or vase with seasonal materials like cranberries. “Surrounded by candles, you have an instant and chic table centerpiece,” says Stark.

You can do the same with assortment of colorful ornaments. It’s an easy way to use those extra ornaments that don’t fit on the tree.

2. New spots for lights
While your tree is a natural home for a string of lights, that’s not the only area that can benefit from a little extra brightness. Add a touch of festive glow to any part of your home – along your mantle, wrapped around a wreath or incorporated into a centerpiece.    

3. No mantle? No problem.

Stockings can be hung with care just about anywhere. If you don’t have a fireplace, try hanging your stockings from the banister, from a coat rack, the knobs of a dresser, back of a chair or even the hooks of a hanging pot rack.

4. Quick and easy tree skirt
Even details as small as the tree skirt can make a world of difference to your décor. Bring new life to a plaid blanket or hit up your local thrift shop for inexpensive fabrics to fashion a brand new spot to place bundles of beautifully wrapped gifts.

5. Put a frame on it
Make your favorite holiday saying or song lyrics the center of attention with stylish prints that you can frame and display. Design your own at home or check out Etsy shops for cute or quirky prints. You can also reuse greeting cards from friends and family by simply placing them in an elegant frame.

6. A touch of greenery
Fresh winter greenery is the perfect complement to any holiday décor scheme.
“I love using nature. Garland, cedar branches, leaves, pine cones, fruits and strands of cranberries all make great holiday décor,” says interior designer Sara Story, of Sara Story Design in New York. “Mixing nature, metallic finishes, lighting and glass creates a fantastic mix of materials and timeless, elegant holiday décor.” A sprig of spruce in a vase, a fresh fir garland wrapped around the staircase or branches of pine laid across a mantle – green goes with everything and brings a bit of the outdoors into your home.

Unexpected holiday décor

How some of the most unusual items in your closet can turn into festive, holiday décor pieces

  1. Unusual wreaths A great wreath on your front door serves to welcome family and friends into your home for holiday festivities. A beautiful wreath can cost you a pretty penny, but you can make one yourself out of just about any material – cotton balls, leftover tinsel, yarn, a feather boa or jingle bells – and a good hot glue gun.

  2. Artsy tape designs Bring out your creative side with a bit of painter’s tape and a lot of imagination. “We ‘draw’ on walls, mirrors, refrigerators, doors and more with the tape, writing holiday messages or drawing anything from Christmas trees to oversized candy canes,” says David Stark of David Stark Design. “Anything is possible as long as you let your imagination run wild.” The tape doesn’t leave marks and comes in a wide variety of designs. You can find it at craft, hardware and online retailers.

  3. Candy creations Got a sweet tooth? Incorporate some of those holiday treats into your décor with a gumdrop garland, a candy cane chandelier or a tiny tree of peppermints. Get the kids involved in creating these tasty decorations for fun with the whole family. Overall it should be about creating a space that you enjoy. “Have fun and don’t take it too seriously!” says New York interior designer Sara Story. “It should be enjoyable and not stressful. The holidays are about enjoying your loved ones.”

—Carley Lintz, CTW Features


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